Jim Gilmore on War & Peace

Senate challenger 2008; previously Republican Governor (VA)


Create a Middle East NATO to fight both Iran and ISIL

On the issue of ISIS versus Iran: It is Iran that's the expansionist power. ISIL is trying to create themselves into a new state. Our job has to be to recognize the conflict between the two. I have proposed there be a Middle East NATO so that we can combine our allies there to stand up to Iranian expansion, and at the same time join together to begin to stop and this ISIL thing before it becomes an actual state.
Source: Fox News/Facebook Second Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Any kind of timetable in Iraq is not responsible

Gilmore said he would support pursuing the war in Iraq to completion. Warner said he would not set a timeline for troops to come home from Iraq. But Gilmore accused Warner of changing his stance from last year, when he said troops should start to leave i January 2009. Gilmore said the troops should stay as long as needed. “Any kind of timetable is not responsible,” he said. “This is not the way to be conducting foreign policy in Iraq.”
Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in Washington Post , Sep 19, 2008

No timeline for withdrawal from Iraq

The two men differed on foreign policy: Warner said he favors the withdrawal of troops from Iraq but not on an “arbitrary timeline.” He said he has not completely agreed with either Obama or McCain on the issue, but clarified that he previously stated troop withdrawal should begin in January. Gilmore said there should be no timeline for troop withdrawal.
Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate in The Washington Times , Sep 19, 2008

Senators should have read NIE before war vote

Q: Did you read the National Intelligence Estimate, which included all the caveats, on whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, before the war vote?

BROWNBACK: I don’t remember that report. I had a number of briefings. And I held a number of committee hearings. I was chairing the Middle East Subcommittee and we held hearings on this topic and what was taking place and what Saddam was doing.

McCAIN: I did not read that particular document. I received hundreds of briefings and background and information on it.

Q: Gov. Gilmore, you chaired the commission on Iraq. Do you think it was appropriate that members of Congress would authorize the president to go to war without reading that NIE?

GILMORE: I think the people who are in Congress who are responsible for sending this country to war, with the enormous dangers that it has geopolitically and strategically, ought to read at least that kind of material. I know they get a lot of stuff and they can’t read everything.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 5, 2007

Mandatory sanctions against nuclear Iran & possible strike

Q: Will you launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran if they were close to achieving a nuclear weapon?

A: I think Iran is one of the real emerging problems. And you have to look at this Middle East issue beyond just the Iraq issue. You have to look at all the complexities of Israel & Palestine & Iran & Iraq and the entire issue of the Middle East. With respect to Iran, I think that there is no choice at this point other than to join up with people across the world in order to put on serious mandatory sanctions against Iran and to do everything that is going to be necessary to try to bring them to the notion that it is better for them to give up this sort of plan rather than to proceed the way we are. We have to ask ourselves: Are we prepared to have Iran have a nuclear weapon? [What about implications for] Saudi Arabia & Egypt? The American people have to at some point come to a real serious conclusion about the tough decision that has to be made when we may have to in fact strike.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

President was wrong to stand pat as long as he did

Q: Do you approve of the way Bush has waged this war?

A: I think that he’s trying to bring some sense of civil order over there.

Q: Has he done a good job over these four years?

A: We have to look where we are and where we are going forward. I think that Democrats are wrong when they say that we need to pull out now on some type of timetable. I think that is a recipe for a very dangerous situation. We’re going to have to find the correct way forward now. And the Democratic proposal and any Republicans that side with them on this immediate pullout are not doing the right thing in the American interest.

Q: But do you agree with Sen. McCain who says that the way this war was conducted over these four years has been awful?

A: Listen, I have not been entirely comfortable with the way this thing has developed either. But the fact is that we’ve got to move forward now, not looking back. I have said numerous times that I think the president was wrong to stand pat as long as he did.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , May 6, 2007

Fight war on terror like Cold War: on moral high ground

Q: When speaking about Osama bin Laden last week, Gov. Romney said, “It’s not worth moving heaven & Earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Sen. McCain called that naive. Who’s right?

GILMORE: We have to do everything that we can do to get this guy, because he is a symbol to the people who believe, as a matter of faith, that they have a right and a duty to destroy Americans and Western civilization. The bigger issue, however, is this: The Americans have to lead against the sea of hostility. This is a serious challenge.

Q: Is Pres. Bush partly responsible for that?

GILMORE: What I think we have to do is to use all of our abilities, diplomatic & economic & military, above all things, put ourselves on the moral high ground, and let people across the world know that we are in the same shoes that we were in during the Cold War. During the Cold War, we represented the aspirations of people everywhere in the world in good faith. And that now must be our policy.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

No pullout on a date certain; support the surge

We have to support these troops. You can’t have a policy like the Democrats are saying, where we pull out on a date certain. How do you send men & women into combat and say on the other hand “we’re only kidding, we’re gonna get out at a particular time?” You can’t have that. We have to stand behind our men and women. We cannot stand pat -- we have to move ahead in this area. The president is attempting to do that and I stand behind the surge
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC , Mar 14, 2007

No troop increase without mission; but no timetable

Gilmore said he had always been what he described as an unvarying Ronald Reagan conservative. He said: “I didn’t run some place and pretend I was a liberal and run someplace else as a conservative. I just didn’t do that.” He was critical of what he described as excessive spending by Republicans over the past eight years, and said that is what led to the party’s defeat in the Nov. 7 midterm elections. He was less direct in discussing his views on Iraq. He declined to say whether the he believed the original decision to invade was correct. He did say he would not support an increase in troop strength there unless a specific mission was spelled out, and that he would not support a timetable for withdrawing troops. “I think we should not keep doing the same thing we have been doing,” he said. “We need to assess new approaches and I am open to considering all of those.”
Source: By Adam Nagourney, New York Times blog , Dec 19, 2006

Bush’s steadfastness in Iraq is leadership in crisis

Q: After we got into Iraq and we realized there was no WMD, the president’s people all apologized for the fact that the president had said in his State of the Union address that there was evidence of an Iraqi deal to buy uranium from Africa. Now the president is coming out and saying, “Well, we didn’t make a mistake. It wasn’t our fault.” What’s his point?

A: This is no longer just about the president or his popularity or his standing; this is about what is in the best interests of the nation that he is leading. And I think what he’s really trying to say is, “Look, we’re all in this together. Those who supported us ought to remember that we’re all in the same boat and still stick with us.” And second, I think he’s issuing a message of steadfastness. I think he’s trying to let the people of the world know that Americans stand by their principles and stand by their commitments. And I think he’s beginning to once again lead the nation at a time of crisis.

Source: Interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews , Nov 11, 2005

UN supported US before war; let’s move beyond pre-war debate

Q: When Bush asked the Congress for [the Iraq War] authority, he said, “I will go to the UN and make a concerted effort.” The UN for him was window dressing. He said, “I will give the inspectors time.” He didn’t give the inspectors time.

A: That’s not true.

Q: It is absolutely true. It’s the reason that Mohamed ElBaradei has just been given the Nobel Peace Prize.

A: That’s false. The UN voted repeatedly to put pressure on Saddam Hussein in order to come forward and allow the inspectors to go everywhere in order to clear up all those things and they repeatedly voted over and over again to support the US’ position in this. It’s a little slippery to say that, gee willikers, now that we know more after the fact, only one side is to blame here. Besides, you’ve got to get beyond all this. This is about what’s in the best interest of not only our fighting soldiers and not even just the US, but the future of the world here.

Source: Interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews , Nov 11, 2005

Iraq does not deplete localities of responders

Q: So many police and fire personnel are also military reservists, and many are being called to service in Iraq. How depleted are our resources on the state and local level as a result?

A: Some local law enforcement and fire personnel are being called up. It is still believed that our law enforcement organizations are capable. In any case there are agreements between localities to reinforce each other at the point of attack and response.

Source: Washington Post interview, “Confronting Iraq” , Mar 24, 2003

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Page last updated: Mar 12, 2016